About the Photographer
Nicholas Victor Artamonoff (alternate spelling: Artamonov) was born on January 23, 1908, in Athens, Greece. Artamonoff’s father, Victor Alekseïevitch Artamonoff, was a Russian military attaché, and was stationed in Athens from 1907 to 1909. In 1909, Victor Artamonoff was transferred to Belgrade, Serbia, and the family lived there and in Russia until after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. The Artamonoff family subsequently moved again, possibly to Belgium, while Nicholas was sent to England.
Nicholas studied at multiple schools in England from 1918 to 1922. He then moved to Istanbul, where he entered Robert College, an American boys’ school, beginning in October of 1922. While at Robert College, he may have been part of a program that resettled Russian refugee children at schools across Europe, which was initiated by Thomas Whittemore, a philanthropist, devoted supporter of archaeology, and founder of the Byzantine Institute (1931–1962).
Artamonoff remained at Robert College through his high school and college careers. He graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1930. His yearbook entry from that year offers insight into his photography and personality:
An ardent photographer with a complete knowledge of his subject, Artamonoff has given the College much valuable service with his camera. He specializes in writing reports and handing them in on time. (Perhaps this is due to the experience of correcting those of the Physics students.) He is quiet and refined. He is the inventor of thehalf-cigarettewhich is ideal for use between periods and just before the morning exercises.
This entry suggests that Artamonoff was a talented amateur photographer, who shared his hobby with the College.
Upon graduation, he accepted an administrative position at Robert College, eventually appointed as Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds in 1938. During his tenure at Robert College, Artamonoff and his wife Natalie lived in a house on the campus of the American College for Girls, its sister school. Artamonoff remained at Robert College until 1947, when he and his wife emigrated to the Unites States.
The couple first settled in New York, where Natalie began studies at Columbia University. Natalie received a Bachelor’s degree in 1950 and remained at Columbia through 1953, when she completed her dissertation and received a Master’s Degree. Nicholas was also a registered student at Columbia, taking some courses in the School of Engineering during 1950 and 1951, though he did not receive a degree. During this time both Nicholas and Natalie became naturalized U.S. citizens.
In the late 1950s, the Artamonoffs relocated to Washington, D.C. Natalie worked as a translator at the Library of Congress, and Nicholas began a long and successful career in government public works. Among other positions, he worked as a Maintenance Engineer for the Public Housing Administration and a Technology Information Specialist for the Geological Survey.
Sometime before 1977, the Artamonoffs retired to San Diego, California, where Nicholas died in 1989.